Week 4: Reflect on your days!

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This week you’ll learn about your own sleep. Personal awareness is the first step in improvement.
Take 5 minutes each day this week to reflect on how your behavior and your environment impact your sleep. To make it easy for you, we will give you 1 question per day to think about.
  • Take 5 minutes to ask yourself: What do I do every day that gets in the way of getting good sleep? What do I do every day that helps me get good sleep?
  • If you consume caffeine or alcohol, pay attention to how the amount and the timing can impact your sleep. Similarly, become aware of how the timing of physical exercise and exposure to bright light can affect your sleep.
  • Take 5 minutes to ask yourself: Do I build in time before bed every night to allow for winding down?
  • Before sleep, the body needs to get into a less active state. Become aware of how looking at social media, replying to messages, and other activities before bed can affect your sleep.
  • Take 5 minutes to ask yourself: Are there any aspects of my bedroom that make it hard for me to fall asleep or cause me to wake up at night or too early in the morning?
  • Become aware of how environmental factors such as room temperature (hot vs. cold), sound (noise vs. silence), light (bright vs. dark), and bedding such as your mattress and pillow (soft vs. firm) affect your sleep.
  • Take 5 minutes to ask yourself: Does it take longer than I’d like to fall asleep? If so, how often?
  • Become aware of what gets in the way of being able to fall asleep easily (distracting thoughts, physical discomfort, noises, partners, pets, etc.).
  • Take 5 minutes to ask yourself: Does it take longer than I’d like to fall asleep? If so, how often?
  • Become aware of what gets in the way of being able to fall asleep easily (distracting thoughts, physical discomfort, noises, partners, pets, etc.).
  • Take 5 minutes to ask yourself: Do I wake up throughout the night or too early in the morning? If so, how often?
  • Become aware of your experience of waking up during the night and what causes it (needing to use the bathroom, physical discomfort, noises, partners, pets, etc.). Notice whether and why you have trouble getting back to sleep.
  • Take 5 minutes to ask yourself: How energized do I feel when I wake up?
  • You made it to the end of the week! Today’s question is about how you feel when you wake up, which says a lot about how you slept. We’re here to help. Stick with us as we learn more about sleep next week.

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Here are the answers to last week’s quiz!
Question 1: An important purpose of sleep is
A: Repairing damaged cells, Forming memories, Boosting the immune system
Question 2: True or False? When you’re well rested, you’re more likely to make better decisions
A: True
Question 3: The cost of sleep deprivation to the Swiss economy is approximately CHF
A: 1.5 billion (1,500,000,000)
Have sleep questions?

Want to ask your own question about sleep? You can write it here anonymously. During the upcoming weeks of the program, look out for answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Q: Is it bad to have the mobile phone next to the bed? And what about if it is in flight mode?
A: The best option is to put the phone in Do Not Disturb mode or even better in Airplane mode. Although some people are convinced that having your phone next to your head is bad, the research is not conclusive on that. Even when the phone is not in Airplane mode, the amount of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is very low. Most studies that have been exploring this were using the phones while on calls and making full contact with the user’s head/ear: In these cases, the EMR is higher, but these studies are still inconclusive. For sleep it is best to put the phone into Airplane or Do Not Disturb mode, so nobody can interrupt your precious sleep.
The biggest problem is our behavior. You need to have the willpower not to use the phone when in the bedroom. Looking at the phone while you should be sleeping increases alertness and reduces the amount of sleep.
Q: What is the healthiest sleeping position for your neck and back and should you use a pillow or not?
A: Two positions are easiest for your neck: On your side and on your back. It is fine to use a pillow. For back sleepers make sure to shape the pillow to support both the curve of your neck (more rounded) and head (more flat).
Q: Is it true that sleep works in 3-hour cycles? For example, will you be more well-rested if you wake up after 6 hours rather than after 7.5 hours?
A: Sleep works in approximately 1.5-hour cycles, but some might be shorter, some might be longer. Each cycle ideally ends with some very shallow sleep or even wake. Having a consistent wake time every morning is more important for waking up refreshed than the sleep duration being a multiple of 1.5 hours.

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